August 01, 2003

White Flight
Now, I've been a fan of Evan Byah, the Democratic Senator from Indiana, for quite some time. His thoughtful, soft-spoken style was always a refreshing change from the frothy, vein-bulging rhetoric that seems to increasingly be the norm in Washington.

Which is why it's so disappointing that, as the current chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, he has become the public face of a faction in the Democratic party that is trying to undermine Howard Dean's campaign as "unelectable", even though they have yet to identify an alternative, more palatable candidate.

Now, as the good (yet slightly shrill) folks at Black Commentator have pointed out, this is merely the most current iteration of conservative White male Democrats deciding to take their ball and go home, and it usually revolves around issues of race & class. The most recent instance was when Strom Thurmond and his Dixiecrat buddies tried to run against Truman as segregationist insurgents before deciding to take up residence in the GOP. And, of course, the original move involved southern Democrats leaving the entire freakin' country, and taking half the states with them during the Secession crisis that led to the Civil War.

What's particularly interesting to me about the DLC in comparison to the Dixicrats and the Confederates is that, at least the old guys were acting on principle. Yes, the integrity of slavery and "whites only" water fountains are inherently whack principles, but it was something to which they were deeply committed.

The DLC, on the other hand, doesn't seem to stand for anything except getting elected and staying in power, by any means necessary. As a group, their long stated goal has always been to find the best way to get Democrats into elected office, as opposed to developing a vision for the country and trying to lead America by a set of values & principles. I would suggest that part of the reason why Al Gore and most Dems in 2002 lost is because the party has this image that its candidates will say anything to get into office. The Republicans, on the other hand, seem to be bulletproof - they can say anything and people respect them for the strength of their convictions. Like Bubba Clinton said, "Strong and wrong beats weak and right every time." A DLC-tailored candidate cannot win because they embody everything that the public hates about politicians.
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